Piqued by the refusal of airlines to pay their workers, particularly flight crew, the Director- General of Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA), Capt. Musa Nuhu, has threatened to ground affected operators.
The threat was handed down to the airlines in a meeting held with airline chiefs and their representatives in Abuja last week Thursday by the aviation regulatory body to engender safety in the industry.
An airline chief who was at the meeting said Nuhu expressed concern over the manner some airlines have handled labour issues and how they have consistently refused to pay workers who have continued to work for the airlines before and after resumption of flights.
Prominent airline chiefs that attended the meeting are Air Peace chairman, Mr. Allen Onyema; Chief Executive Officer of Ibom Air, Mr. George Uriesi; Accountable Manager for Dana, Mr. Obi Mbanuzo, among others. According to the source, “The Director-General of NCAA, Musa Nuhu, called for emergency meeting of airline owners and their representatives in Abuja on Thursday last week. Azman and Air Peace are having issues with their pilots.
“The meeting was about pilots’ issue and lack of payment of salary to airline staff. The DG warned all airlines that refuse to pay salary to pilots and crew that they stand the risk of being grounded.” The source further stated that the meeting was called before pilots working with Air Peace downed tools last week until further notice pending when the management can come to a mutual agreement.
A pilot with Air Peace, who spoke to New Telegraph on condition of anonymity, said the management of the airline, through its Human Resources, approved an average of 80 per cent pay cut across its pilot rankings. A senior pilot who also spoke to our correspondent lamented the poor treatment pilots are subjected to, stressing that the management and the pilots were still meeting to resolve the problem.
He stated that the strike, which started on Tuesday, may be called off if the management shifts its position and come to a mutual agreement. Azman Air also came under scrutiny because of its alleged attitude to workers and their welfare.
The airline recently acquired four-engine, fuel guzzling A340 in readiness for Hajj which never materialized because of the impact of COVID-19 to this year’s Hajj, rendering its investments as waste. Max Air followed suit by acquiring B747 for Hajj which never took place because of COVID-19 pandemic.